What age do I begin training? How do I know if my child's even ready to start? What training toilets work best? How do I approach it? Help!
I have talked with a couple mom's and have read blogs concerning these questions. There are hundreds of resources from organizations, books, online sources that suggests the one way to potty train. Is there one way? Again, no child learns or is motivated by the same thing or force, therefore, there is not only one way to potty train. Every mom receives advice on what to do and what not to do. The advice can be helpful, but you are one of only very few people that knows your child best. This is your power tool for teaching your child anything... Remember that!
I have friends and family who have young kids who have either completed potty training or began potty training recently. The biggest key both parties have told me in being successful in conquering it is Consistency, Dedication and Start Training Young.
Here are a few tips I've gathered from my minimal experience, other mom's and parenting websites:
1. On parents.com they suggest beginning potty training as early as 12-18 months. Another mom who had a successful experience started training her child at 18 months and he was fully trained by 20 months. A benefit I've researched about potty training is to train your child before the age of two. The reasons, first, your child can't say no! Also, the older they are the more independent, strong-willed, and vocal they become. I've seen this from personal experience. My 2.5 year old niece hasn't really started potty training and it is like pulling teeth to get her do anything!
2. Make it fun! Bribery is great motivator. Either candy, or stickers is great option. Put candy or your bribery item on the back of the toilet. It's important that you make it VISIBLE so the child knows in order to get a treat, they HAVE to go potty in the toilet. Another fun idea along with bribery is to have potty books for them while their training! My brother bought my niece "Potty Time With Elmo" book. She likes the book and it has been a great reinforcement tool the few times by brother has taken her potty. Another favorite that mom's have used is "Everyone Poops." The title may seem inappropriate, but it's a true fact of life, everyone does poop!
3. Get a small potty insert and a footstool! From what I've been told and gathered an insert is better then the small individual toilets that sit on the floor. Again, this depends on the child. Some children have the fear of falling in the big toilet, some love that they're a big kid and sit on moms and dads toilet. A benefit of buying an insert over a personal training toilet is you don't have an issue when your away from home, and you don't have to transfer your child to the big toilet later.
4. Talk about it! It's important your child knows the gist of what you'll be doing with them concerning potty training. Take them to the store and let them pick out their new underwear! Give them the choice, and make it a big DEAL that they'll be wearing these cool, awesome undies now! A tip suggested is that training undies (they're a little thicker then normal undies) are a far better option then pull-ups. Personally I think pull-ups are diapers, the only difference is it's easier to put them on and off.
5. Have a potty schedule! Naturally, most children will pee or poop after eating. This is a helpful reminder for both you and your child that potty time is right after! Another tip for getting a routine schedule down is to take your child potty every 30-60 minutes. This can be challenging considering that in order to make this happen, you'll need to stay home for about a week to get your child adjusted to this new schedule and training.
6. Consistency, consistency, consistency and dedication! From my experience as a nanny and as an aunt, I've learned that children THRIVE off of consistency. It is important because they know what to expect and when to expect it.
7. Don't get mad. Potty training should be a positive learning experience. Accidents will happen. Approach accidents by being calm and saying, "Uh-oh, poop and pee goes in the toilet." After every accident or mid-stream take them immediately to the toilet. It's important to NOT give them a treat during these circumstances. ONLY if they go in the toilet in the first place.
8. Use sign language or sounds! This technique is great for infants. My sister began potty training her 4 month old by using the sound psspss. She used this sound after she knew that her baby went in her diaper. By doing so, this teaches the child that the sound is associated with going potty. Also, after each feeding she'd take her infant on the toilet and make the sound for her baby to go potty. My sister has had great success with this technique!
Again, all these tips might not work for your child. I believe though the best approach to potty training that will work for everyone is being consistent with your techniques and routine.